The other day when my 4 year old and I were in the library, she picked out a book that I had never heard of – “Betty Bunny Wants Everything,” by Michael Kaplan. I had myself a good chuckle over this one as just the day before we had had a long conversation with her about the fact that you can’t purchase everything that you want and how shopping can become a dangerous addiction. So when she wanted to take this book home, of course I said yes.
What we learned in taking home this book was that not only was it fabulous, but there are other Betty Bunny Books! We managed to find 2 others in our local libraries and have been pleasantly surprised by the wonderful messages that the books aim to get across. The common theme through all of the books is that “Betty Bunny is a handful,” even if she has no idea what that means. She is just like the preschoolers that we have in our homes who want everything and they want it RIGHT NOW! She has problems with patience and perseverance. However, she has intelligent parents and 3 older siblings that try to help her figure out her way in the world. Both my 4 year old and my 8 year old enjoy reading these books and I love the little lessons that they impart.
Betty Bunny Wants Everything
While this isn’t the first book in the series, it was our initial introduction to Betty Bunny. Betty is a cute preschooler who wants every toy in the toy store. When her mother says that she and her siblings can each pick out one toy to take home, she picks a cute doll and then starts to grab at every other toy around her. She wants EVERYTHING, even if she doesn’t exactly know what the toy is or how to use it. Being unable to pick one, her mother carries her out of the store kicking and screaming and she cries the entire way home (sound familiar? I’ve had this experience a few too many times.).
Betty’s parents want her to understand that she can’t have everything. She doesn’t need them, she won’t actually play with them, and she has no room for them. Her siblings tell her not to be greedy, but she doesn’t yet understand that greed is a bad thing. I have been in her mother’s position where you want to explain to the child in the moment, but you can’t because a) you have other kids in tow, b) you are facing a massive melt-down in a public place and c) sometimes the lesson of leaving without anything is the best lesson of them all. That said, you want your child to understand WHY they can’t have everything. Back at home, Betty’s father comes up with a fabulous idea in an effort to get her to understand the value of money. He suggests that her mother take them back to the store, give Betty and her siblings actual cash to spend and then explain that when it runs out you don’t get anymore. “It will help you understand why you can’t have everything you want.”
Just as her father expected, she likes the dollar bills that she has and realizes that if she uses it to buy toys then she won’t have her money anymore. She makes the grown up decision to buy a small toy and save the rest.
This is a cute story about over-consumption and the childhood desire to have everything. Kids have a really hard time with the concept of money and not understanding that we can’t purchase everything that we see. This is a great introduction to moderation and I might be trying out the idea of cold hard cash and letting my 4 year old figure it out.
Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake
This is the first book in the actual series where we are introduced to Betty and her family. In this, Betty tastes chocolate cake for the first time and decides that it is the yummiest thing in the world. Once she tastes cake she can think of nothing else and refuses to eat her standard fare of healthy food. Her mother explains that “sometimes you can’t have what you want right away, so you need to wait. And that’s called patience.”
But what 3-4 year old do you know who has mastered patience? Definitely not Betty Bunny. Mom had to suggest putting a piece aside for the next day when she eats a healthy meal because perhaps knowing that it is there waiting for her might make it easier to wait. The knowledge did help, although the next morning she decided to carry the cake with her as well and she had to learn that “putting a piece of cake in your pocket is not really the same as being patient.”
Both of my children really enjoyed this book. It is a very fun tale that imparts a wonderful lesson. I will say that from a parent’s perspective this was my least favorite book of the 3 we read, but I still enjoyed it.
Betty Bunny Wants A Goal
Betty Bunny strikes again. In Betty Bunny Wants a Goal, this headstrong preschooler has started playing soccer and expects immediate success. She wants to be the star of the team and expects to score 10 goals in her first game. Unfortunately, she must learn patience and the importance of practice.
Poor Betty is jealous when her teammate scores the first goal in their game. Alyse was showered with attention and Betty was sad. She continues to struggle in her first game and when it is over she decides that she hates soccer and wants to quit. Her parents send her three siblings to get her to change her mind and the lure of a trophy at the end of the season makes her give it a second chance.
The second game isn’t much better. On the drive home, one of her brothers suggests that maybe she just isn’t that good. Their father agrees that he might have a point – “Trying is important, but if you want to get good at something, you also have to practice.”
With that, her older brother now has to help her practice every day after school. At the next soccer game, Betty Bunny manages to score her first goal. This book wonderfully imparts the lesson that “if you keep trying and you practice, there’s nothing that you can’t do.”
While these books have been out for years, they have only recently hit our small town and I couldn’t be more thrilled. They are a wonderful teaching tool and generally just fun to read. A great addition to your collection!